Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chapter 4

The chapter was dead on when describing climate change and global warming. Kolbert didn't just show graphs of increasing temperatures, instead she applied climate change to animal life. She displayed how there is evidence for climate change by simply examining the living habits of butterflies. She noted that butterflies, once thought to only live and thrive in specific areas, are now surviving outside of their native grounds due to the change in climate. In my opinion, this was a great way to apply the consequences of global warming.

Kolbert, showed climate change through the natural processes of nature, from mating habits to blooming seasons. I think she chose this method to depict the consequences of global warming because although graphs and studied suggest evidence for global warming, the change in nature vividly shows its effects, whether it's a change in mating habits as in the case of the common frogs or changes in the ability to survive on non-indigenous grounds.

Once again the only thing I don't like is Kolbert's character descriptions. They seem oddly placed, one minute she's talking about butterflies and then next she's describing a biologist that who resembles Ethan Hawk. Maybe its because I'm readied the book like a typical text book, I am thrown off when she goes off on descriptive tanginess.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reading Chap 2 & 3

In chapters two and three, Kolbert introduces a variety of reasons that support the theory of global warming. In the beginning of chapter two she talks about the heightening of the earths surface temperature or the natural green house effect and how if unbalanced this natural occurrence can cause the earth to heat up. She points out that green house gases, at times, emits radiation absorbed by the sun back into the earth, as opposed to emitting the radiation in space, contributing to global warming.

Kolbert also provides findings from the work of Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius, to support the theory of global warming. Arrhenius concluded that industrialization is closely linked to climate change, he was the first to make this association.. This reminds me of all the “go green” initiatives we take today to try to undue the centuries of coal and fossil fuel emissions that have added to the Co2 build up. I love when Kolbert writes “Perhaps just because he was Scandinavian, he anticipated the results would be, on the whole, be salubrious.” Subtle sarcastic remarks like this can make the reading slightly more enjoyable for people not interested in global warming. However, Arrhenius didn’t foresee the harm that increased Co2 would incite, since he praised the process for the “abundant crops” that would grow as a result of warmer climates.

The different graphs and tables were also instrumental in displaying climate change and it’s effects on the earth. One thing I didn’t like or found distracting as a reader was the description of Jay Swally, the NASA Scientist. Kolbert writes “He is short and stocky with a round face and mischievous grin.” Unless his grin emits Co2 that contributes to global warming, I didn’t feel that details like this were crucial in explaining or understanding the severity of global warming.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Questions and Observations pg 1-34 Kolbert

1) The authors note immediately caught my attention, not because it’s one of the first pages, but because of what it said. The author writes, “The language of science is metric,” it reminded me of something I heard a while back which is that math is the language of heaven (space) and earth.

2) I also like the scene setting lede that Kolbert used in the preface that leads into the first chapter. She opens by talking about the lack of adventurous things to do in Greenland. Also when she talk about the reason why she wrote the book and how it got its start. By doing this, she develops a connection with the reader and makes herself more personable as opposed to her being a science write that readers can’t relate to. I feel that by making herself more personable to the reader she has gained the readers trust, ensuring that they will continue reading.

3) Questioin- Can animal life survive in the active layer like plant life ? Ie frozen frogs.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Q&A Blog: How do abortions work?

Warning: Disturbing topic, sorry if people are offended.

You’ve just had what you thought was the best sex in you life. Lying next to a woman you consider the rebound from you last relationships, she says “I have something to tell you...I’m pregnant.” Your response is “So what are you going to do?” eager to find the nearest coat hanger.

Abortion is a touchy subject, it can be put in the "do not discuss" category next to finances and in between religion and politics. Most people would agree and say that a man should never propose abortion as an option, but does any one ever wonder how abortions actually work? I do.

People say "it’s like a vacuum that sucks 'it' out," turns out they were right.

Although there are other methods to abortion such as a pill one can take, the Suction and Curettage method sparked this blog.

The procedure is generally carried out with in the first trimester or the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. During the procedure doctors dilate the cervix which is the opening of the uterus; after the cervix is widened, doctors insert a tube that is about the same size of a pencil, the plastic tube is hooked up to a suction machine. When the doctor flicks the on button, it’s on. The fetus and placenta are suctioned out in the tube, some times whole, sometimes in pieces.

After the suctioning process doctors then use a curette to scrape the walls of the uterus for any remains of the fetus or placenta. After the walls have been wiped clean, the doctors suctions one more time, just to make sure he’s go it all.

If you found this blog graphic, use protection.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Q&A: How Does In Vitro Fertilization work?

Purchase the miracle of life.

In today’s age women can now buy the power to give birth, thanks to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Although the reproductive process is “man made,” as babies are created by humans; the process of IVF gives a new definition to the term “man made,” as fertilization lies in the hands of doctors.

Doctors have figured out how to force the hand of nature and usher in the miracle of life. During the process of IVF, eggs are extracted from the woman’s ovaries and fertilized, in a laboratory dish, with the active sperm extracted from a man’s seamen. The process of assisted reproduction, where the eggs and sperm are joined at the hands of doctors is known as in vitro fertilization. If fertilization is successful, pre- embryos will start to grow. These pre-embryos are then incubated in a “special mixture,” that acts as the inside of a woman’s fallopian tube.

Still fertilization is only half of the battle. After the incubation period, embryos are formed ready to be implanted. The implantation period consists of doctors transferring embryos through the woman’s cervix into her uterus, using an instrument knows as a catheter. Doctors usually implant more than one embryo in the hopes that at least one would be successfully implanted.

After implantation the woman is given hormones (Progesterone) to assist in the implantation’s success. If the implant is successful the eggs will attach to the uterine wall and the woman is now officially pregnant.

According to Dr. Majorie Greenfield, “On average, each cycle of treatment can cost $4000 to $10,000. And many couples take more than one cycle to get pregnant.”

The most popular case of IVF is that of Nadya Suleman A.K.A Octomom who gave birth to Octuplets (eight children) due to IVF.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stephen Hawking Is Making His Comeback -Discover Blog

The lede was a great scene setting lede. The writer captured the environment and feel of the seminar. It drew me in as a reader in the sense that I can envision the seminar and felt almost like I was there. I specifically like his use of words like “rocketing to stardom,” as it provided some connotation between Hawkings real life and his career. It was a great way to use space terms in describing a person.

The content of the article was both interesting and informative. Though out the article many questions are raised in one sentence and answered in the next. It was also a nice hybrid between Hawking’s medical condition and his life long work. At times I wondered, why is the author speaking extensively about Hawking’s medical condition. However after fully reading the article I understood that speaking about Hawking’s condition lends a needed background to the story and eventually coincides with his work as hawking had to find new methods of carrying out his work when his condition made it nearly impossible.

The article was organized in a way that let it flow easily. It was broken into different sections with the use of sub heads, making it easier for the reader to understand what he/she is to get out of reading a specific section. Also one section transitions into the next section effortlessly as the story progresses.

I thought the style of writing was particularly simple given the complicated subject matter. The writer talks about various equations and scientific terms that can easily confuse any one, how ever he extracts all the jargon and puts it in plan English for the reader. He didn’t allow the complex nature and languages of the subject to complicate his story or confuse his readers.

Essentially the writer explained the science in his article in a way that didn’t feel like a science lesson. He used vivid descriptions that assisted in the understanding of the scientific matter. For example when talking about black holes the author writes, “One particle can fall into the black hole while the other feeds on the gravitational energy of the hole and flies away to safety,” the simplicity of this statement is present through out the entire article.

Overall I would give this article an A as it was very fulfilling and educational (with out feeling like it).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The American Crow scientifically referred to as Corvus brachyrhynchos isn’t really a new species to me and Plattsburgh isn’t the first place I’ve ever seen a crow. However, while living in Macdonough hall I couldn’t help but notice that the building is constantly surrounded by black crows, to the point where they’re parked outside my window (on the 3rd floor) and won’t even flinch when I yell out the window. Since I am extremely annoyed by these huge birds, I decided to dedicate my nature blog to them.

According to the Adirondack Almanac the American crow has been in the Adirondacks at least since colonization. They also prefer open areas with nearby trees. The only feature I like about crows is there jet black color that has a glossy and slightly iridescent look.

Some interesting facts about crows, they weight about 450g and about 20% of male crows are larger than female crows. Also, young crows are roughly the same size as adult crows but their eyes are blue and their mouths are pink, both the eyes and mouth darken as the crow gets older.

American crows are sometimes confused with common ravens. However, I know that it is crows that surround Macdonough hall because of the glossy iridescent feathers.